Bill Bennett and the National Review rush to the defense of embattled congressman Peter King (R-NY), whose circus-show hearings, held for no other reason than to spotlight the problem of homegrown terrorism, began yesterday (albeit with some helpful pushback):
If one community is engaging in terrorism “at a greater rate” than the rest of the community; and if we are at war with or on the defensive against such terrorism; and if the secretary of homeland security states, The terrorist threat facing our country “may be at its most heightened state” since 9/11; and if the attorney general can say that “homegrown terror” is “one of the things that keeps me up at night,” why should there not be 10 hearings a year?
This defense muddles the point. We aren’t against investigating homegrown terrorism. We’re against holding hearings to do it. Anyone who’s staffed a politician, or even, Hell, thought about the issue for just a second, knows there are three reasons you hold hearings. First, to solicit useful input as you design a legislative solution to a particular problem. Second, to sell the completed bill to your constituents. And third, for theater. Congressman King’s hearings are distinctly described by the last point, only.
Control of homegrown terrorism is not a proper issue for Congress to legislate. Neither Mr. King nor his committee expect a bill, or a study, to come out of the hearings. This is a subject that DHS, in cooperation with police departments across the country, can, and does handle in its executive capacity. And when they do, unlike our honorable members opposite, we don’t play the victim. Because the police’s job is to police, and Congress’ job is to legislate. Not to shine a light on a discrete minority, and say, “you did this.“